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Wednesday, June 22 • 11:15 - 12:15
CON01.03b - Assessing Intercultural Competence in Short-term Study Abroad Students: Lessons for Educators

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The old adage that travel broadens the mind may not hold true for every student studying abroad. While pre-departure and in-country support for intercultural learning can help, some student still fail to develop their intercultural competence and some even go backwards (Hammer, 2012). Using a combination of quantitative (Intercultural Development Inventory) and qualitative measures, this study examines what happens in intercultural learning when students participated in a four-week field school in India, preceded by a twelve-week preparation course on the ethics of international voluntourism. Results found that, while students pre- and post-trip Intercultural Development Inventory results varied, qualitative data gave insights into student learning and revealed important lessons for educators. In an era where institutions claim to be producing global citizens and where a more globalized world makes intercultural skills a necessity (Gambino and Hashim, 2016), educators need to carefully consider how to purposefully develop intercultural skills in learners regardless of discipline (Vande Berg, Paige, and Lou, 2012). The paper argues that if we want to intentionally develop intercultural competence in students who study abroad, we need to know how students view culture and cultural issues and how different students learn differently when it comes to intercultural competence. The session's learning outcomes will include providing an understanding of how learning during study abroad occurs along multiple dimensions, and specific tools for helping students to turn challenging intercultural experiences into valuable learning opportunities. The session will also identify specific areas for improvement and growth for institutions that wish to expand their international programs.

Gambino, Giacomo, and S. Mohsin Hashim. (2016). "In Their Own Words: Assessing Global Citizenship in a Short-Term Study-Abroad Program in Bangladesh." Journal of Political Science Education. 12(1), 15-29.

Hammer, M. R. (2012a). "The Intercultural Development Inventory: A New Frontier in Assessment and Development of Intercultural Competence." In M. Vande Berg, R. M. Paige, & K. H. Lou (Eds.), Student Learning Abroad : What our students are learning, what they're not, and what we can do about it. (pp. 115). Sterling, Virginia:: Stylus.

Vande Berg, M., Paige, R. M., & Lou, K. H. (2012). "Student Learning Abroad: Paradigms and Assumptions." In M. Vande Berg, R. M. Paige, & K. H. Lou (Eds.), Student learning abroad: What our students are learning, what they're not, and what we can do about it (pp. 3-29). Sterling, Virginia: Stylus.


Lynne Mitchell

University of Guelph
Dr. Lynne Mitchell has been working in international education for over 20 years. She is currently the Director of the Centre for International Programs (CIP) and International Liaison Officer for the University of Guelph. Her current research interests include the role of international... Read More →
avatar for Andrea Paras

Andrea Paras

Assistant Professor, University of Guelph
Dr. Andrea Paras joined the University of Guelph, Political Science Department in 2012, after spending a year working at the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Her research is centered on questions that investigate the political and ethical consequences of international... Read More →

Wednesday June 22, 2016 11:15 - 12:15 EDT